Oona King is a member of the House of Lords (appointed Baroness King of Bow in January 2011) and a Diversity Executive at Channel 4 and was previously Senior Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister on Equalities and Diversity (2007-09) at 10 Downing Street. She is also a broadcaster, writer and political campaigner and was the elected MP for Bethnal Green & Bow from 1997-2005 and became PPS to the Minister for e-Commerce, and then PPS to the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry.
Oona founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Genocide Prevention in the House of Commons, and received a commendation from the UN Security Council's Expert Panel for her group's work on peacekeeping. Other roles have included Vice-Chair of the British Council (1998-2002), Chair of the All-Party Group on Business Services (1998-2001), Vice-Chair of London Labour MPs (1997-2005), and Treasurer of Friends of Islam (2001-2005).
During her time in Parliament, Oona changed the law in five areas, including housing policy and equalities policy. In her first year in the House of Lords she was nominated for 'Campaigning Peer of the Year'. In 2010 she ran for Mayor of London in the Labour Party selection process against Ken Livingstone.
Before becoming an MP at the age of 29, Oona was a Trade Union organiser representing low-paid workers, and spent five years as a researcher at the European Parliament. She gained a first class politics degree from York University (1990), and a scholarship to Berkeley, California (1988-89). Her current work for Channel 4 focuses on diversity in the media, and she previously chaired the steering committee of the Cultural Diversity Network (an organisation representing all Britain's major broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky). Oona also chaired the Broadcasting and Creative Industries Disability Network (BCIDN) and currently sits on the House of Lords post-legislative Select Committee on Adoption.
Outside politics Oona has worked as a television presenter for Channel 4, BBC, Sky, Five and ITV. Her political diary of her time in the House of Commons, House Music, was published by Bloomsbury in 2007 and nominated for 'Political Book of the Year' in the Channel 4 political awards.
Oona lives with her husband and three young children in Tower Hamlets. Her hobbies include cycling, dancing, listening to In Our Time Melvyn Bragg podcasts in the middle of the night and attempting to improve foreign language skills: she speaks Italian, French, and a little bit of Bengali.
“Although politics is my greatest passion, it is not my only passion. It probably takes up no more than half this book. Those whose interest is purely political (the majority of my political colleagues and political journalists) might be perturbed. Those who have no interest in politics might be deterred. But those who believe the personal is political should be fairly entertained.” Oona King
Oona King House Music
My book House Music was published in 2007 and is an inside look at what it's really like to work in Parliament while juggling 'normal' life at the same time. It's about to be released as an ebook, details here shortly. This is an interview I gave shortly after publication.